NAVAL AIR FACILITY MISAWA, Japan - Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 132 arrived at Naval Air Facility Misawa, July 14, 2012, and will begin a six-month deployment in support of U.S. 7th Fleet.
The Oak Harbor, Wash.-based squadron, also known as the "Scorpions," flies the Navy's newest electronic attack aircraft: the EA-18G Growler.
"The aircrafts' mission is to locate, identify, and jam enemy radars, and provide protection for joint forces," said Cmdr. Dave Kurtz, VAQ-132 executive officer, and a native of Coatesville, Penn. "It provides a whole new generation of capabilities, which includes advanced location of emitters, self defense through air-to-air weapons, and the ability to communicate with other aircraft, providing real-time information to help defend themselves. "With these advanced capabilities, it's far more advanced than anything we've ever seen before," he said.
While deployed to NAF Misawa's northern-Japan locale, the squadron will integrate with existing U.S. and coalition forces.
"While here, we'll provide airborne electronic attack capability for our coalition forces when called upon," said Cmdr. Jay Matzko, VAQ-132 commanding officer, and originally from Phoenix. "During our stay here in Misawa, we will be training, continuing to build readiness, and if we are needed anywhere around the world, we will respond."
Matzko also said his squadron is excited to operate alongside Japan's Air and Maritime Self-Defense Forces, as well as other regional partners within the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR).
"This is the first time that Navy Airborne Electronic Attack has been deployed to the PACOM (U.S. Pacific Command) AOR in a long time," said Matzko. "We are looking forward to being here, we are looking forward to supporting the joint and coalition forces when called upon, and we're ready to go."
But while the Scorpions are mission ready, Kurtz said his Sailors are also eager to take some time to explore their host country. "Every single one of us is excited to be here; it is a whole different experience from previous deployments," he said. "We are looking forward to seeing the country, traveling on the Shinkansen, and enjoying everything Japan has to offer."
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